Angry members of Iraq's Shiite majority staged major street demonstrations in Baghdad and in the holy city of Najaf on Monday, a day after a bomb went off in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate a major religious leader in Najaf.
But the demonstration of several thousand well-organized Shiites in Baghdad -- one of the largest such marches in the capital since the war -- focused on other issues and had a distinctly anti-U.S. tone.
"Down with America!" the demonstrators, almost all young men from a poor Shiite neighborhood, chanted as they marched past the palace now used by the U. S.-led coalition that runs Iraq. "Down with the ruling council!" they added, referring to the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council, which Washington views as a transitional body to a democratic government.
Occupation officials were quick to play down the notion that the recent spate of violence resembles the scenario of sectarian upheaval that some predicted once the iron-fisted rule of Saddam Hussein was overthrown. Hussein was ruthless in repressing Kurds, Shiites, ethnic Turks and other groups with aspirations for greater representation in this ethnically and religiously diverse nation.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.